Carpal tunnel syndrome is common among computer keyboard users. It can strike anyone, and its consequences are serious. Awareness of the problem and its causes is crucial to preventing CTS. With proper ergonomics and attention to the work routine you can prevent CTS; with early detection and treatment it need never become debilitating. The employer’s attention to stress levels, proper ergonomics, and the early warning signs of CTS are important in keeping the ailment at bay in the workplace.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful, debilitating condition. It involves the median nerve and the flexor tendons that extend from the forearm into the hand through a “tunnel” made up of the wrist bones, or carpals, and the transverse carpal ligament. As you move your hand and fingers, the flexor tendons rub against the sides of the tunnel. This rubbing can cause irritation of the tendons, causing them to swell. When the tendons swell they apply pressure to the median nerve. The result can be tingling, numbness, and eventually debilitating pain.
CTS affects workers in many fields. It is common among draftsmen, meat cutters, secretaries, musicians, assembly-line workers, computer users, automotive repair workers, and many others. CTS can be treated with steroids, anti- inflammatories, or physical therapy, or with surgery to loosen the transverse carpal ligament. Recovery of wrist and hand function is often, but not always, complete.
Common symptoms include: pains in hands, elbows, shoulders or knees; morning stiffness of fingers; impaired finger flexion; transitory nocturnal paralysis of arm and hand; paresthesia of hands (possibly also of face); painful adduction rotation of the thumb at metacarpophalangeal joint; weakness of hand grip; fluctuating edema in hands, feet or ankles; impaired tactile sensations in fingers; tenderness over carpal tunnel; dropping of objects; nocturnal muscle spasms in extremities.
J. M. Ellis, MD published an article in the Southern Medical Journal documenting the effectiveness of vitamin B6 in carpal tunnel syndrome. This study is interesting in that it shows that the vitamin B6 deficiency was corrected within four weeks, but that it took 12 weeks to relieve the signs of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.The 12-week response time in carpal tunnel syndrome demonstrates a unique aspect of nutritional health care. Treatments can take months in some cases, because nutritional deficiencies are so complex. A B6 deficiency may be linked to a zinc deficiency or heavy metal poisoning, and will need to be corrected in order to maintain proper B6 levels long term. This type of treatment requires patience on the part of the patient and persistence by the doctor. The patient should always remember that with nutrition therapy, progress is sometimes slow, but success is usually permanent and free of negative side effects.
If you or someone you know is suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, please contact (304)263-4927 today to schedule an appointment to see how functional medicine, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments can work for you.